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Using Hyperlinks in PowerPoint Presentations

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/25/2009

Save time and avoid boring your audience by relying on hyperlinks in your PowerPoint presentations. You can link to web pages, files and other slides within the presentation.

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    The growing availability of wireless and free Internet connections provides presenters with a good chance of giving a presentation in a locale with an Internet connection. Since many businesses and presenters have web sites and other online resources, they might consider incorporating them into their presentations.

    However, don't build the presentation to completely rely on the Internet. For one, the Internet can go down while you give your presentation. You could also discover that you can't connect to the locale's Internet. Create your presentation knowing that the Internet may not be available for your presentation. Besides, some hyperlinks don't rely on the Internet. These open files and jump around your presentation.

    Besides, you're the star -- not PowerPoint. PowerPoint and any other presentation tools complement your storytelling. If they dominate, be prepared to lose your audience.

    In any case, you can include links to web sites, other online documents and files on your computer in your presentation.

    Note: These instructions are for PowerPoint 2003. For PowerPoint 2007, replace step 2 with the following: Go to the Insert tab and click Hyperlink from the Links group.

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    Internet Links

    The following steps will add a link to any web page from presentation's text or picture in PowerPoint 2003.

    1. Select text or a picture that you wish to link (Note that Existing File or Web Page is selected for you).
    2. Click Insert > Hyperlink, use Ctrl+K shortcut or click the Hyperlink icon from the toolbar..
    3. Enter the Web address in to the Address box.
    4. Click OK.

    Test out your new link. Run the slideshow and click the text or image where you added the link. This opens a web browser and loads the URL that you entered into the Address box.

    These steps work for files on your computer. Instead of entering a URL, browser the folders until you find your file. The next image shows the Insert Hyperlink window and selecting a Word .doc file. Click the text or image and PowerPoint opens your file in the related application.

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    Link to a Word file
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    Jump to another Slide within the Presentation

    You can use links to jump to another slide in the presentation. A slide might have important visuals that you can refer to multiple times during the presentation. Rather than going forward or backward, add a link to jump to the page using the following steps.

    1. Select text or a picture that you wish to link.
    2. Click Insert > Hyperlink, use Ctrl+K shortcut or click the Hyperlink icon from the toolbar.
    3. Click Place in This Document on the left. Select the slide as the next image shows. Click OK. Run the slideshow to test your new link. PowerPoint instantly loads the linked slide.
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    Link to another slide
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    Create a New Document

    Good presenters engage their audience. A good way to do this is to use a whiteboard to capture their thoughts and suggestions. No whiteboard? No problem. Use the Create New Document hyperlink.

    1. Select text or a picture that you wish to link.
    2. Click Insert > Hyperlink, use Ctrl+K shortcut or click the Hyperlink icon.
    3. Click Create New Document.
    4. Select where you want the document to live by clicking Change.
    5. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the new document.
    6. Give the document a name.
    7. Select Edit the new document later.
    8. Click OK.

    When you come to the slide, click the link or image and the document opens. In the next image, the new file is called whiteboard.txt and opens a text editor.

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    Link to a new file
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    Using links makes your presentation more interactive. Links save you the trouble of minimizing the presentation and opening another application.